Escambia and Santa Rosa Youth Learn The Livestock Business
Extension Agent - Livestock
Issue/Alert Affecting Crop: The fall of the year begins an exciting time for 4-H youth in Escambia County: Show season! November 20th was the kick off of the spring livestock show activities for local youngsters. Member weighed in steers from across a several county area, including Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Students selected their animals from a six county region in northwest Florida and south Alabama. The unique part of these projects are the opportunity to work directly with local producers while learning about the beef cattle industry. Exhibitors will participate in clinics, showmanship, field days, and eventually the show in April 2011.
4-H youth get the chance to examine the cattle busiess from all angles. Photo Credits: Les Harrison
The students project’s are also a great way to showcase a growing sector within the local animal industry. Naturally raised, grass fed, and locally grown are the buzz words for regional producers. Consumer demand has increase for these products and ranchers are answering the need. Local small farms operators are now producing naturally raised beef, grass fed turkey and chicken, locally raised pork, along with several stockmen selling other animal products.
The rapid rise in popularity of vegetable crops on small farms has given rise to the growth of small scale animal production. Fall 2010 sales of local products went extremely well with one producer pre-selling all but three birds he raised. Spring sales of beef are also looking to eclipse last year’s volume with sales through local natural food stores and farmer’s markets. Local livestock production has growth potential and is an attractive market potential for small farms looking to sell locally.